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News 2021

December 27, 2021: The Vertical Truth Method: IS THE GUITAR FRETBOARD A MYSTERY TO YOU? I can help. I teach a method that can remove the mystery.


December 20, 2021: Hammond B3 Konnakol!Konnakol in the context of a Hammond B3 group was a possibility that never occured to me!


December 15, 2021: Going Modal - The Money Note!:  Melodies have what I call, “money notes.” Find out what they are: Free lesson, blog links and more!


December 6, 2021: Jam Tales: Carroll Lewis: "You mean to tell me you can play guitar like that and chose not to be in MY jazz band?!!"


November 29, 2021: Teaching Teachers (Part 2): What about you? Why are you teaching?


November 22, 2021: Promoting Gigs on Social Media: That was my moment of clarity about the power of, and how to use, social media. It's about the present, not the future. It's about what's happening now.


November 15, 2021: Circle of 4ths vs Circle of 5ths: Confused by the Circle of 5ths? Try the Circle of 4ths instead!


November 10, 2021: Going Modal! Harmonic Context! New FREE lesson on modes, blog links and more!


November 8, 2021: Tribute to Pat Martino:  I was kind of half-way expecting and hoping for an Act 3: a miraculous recovery, score a new record deal and go back out on the road; it wouldn't have been the first time.

November 1, 2021: The Day Facebook Went Away: Let me ask you a question; in your guitar learning endeavors, do you depend on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter or any other social media platform to find content and to progress on the instrument? If so, what would happen if your platform of choice went away and that guy you’ve followed lost all his social media followers?


October 25, 2021: Cream at Klooks Kleek: I recently stumbled across a bootleg recording that I’d not heard, or even heard of, before; Cream at Klooks Kleek Club in London on November 15, 1966.


October 15, 2021: Create Chord Melodies...& MORE! This video includes demonstrations of using Open and Close-Voiced 7th chords to comp to Blues and Standards, adding extensions (9ths, 13ths etc) and walking bass lines in Blues and Standards. So not only is Unit 6: 7th Voicing the key to being able to create chord-melody arrangements, it's also a foundation for further growth and progress on your guitar/music journey.


October 13, 2021: Create Your Own Chord Melodies! In this video I'm going to give you one position (out of 3) for Open Voiced 7th Chords and one position (out of 4) for Close Voicing. 4 types of 7th chords = 8 different chord shapes. With these 8 shapes you have the foundation for creating your own chord-melody arrangements of any song you want!


October 11, 2021: Announcing the Launch of Unit 6: 7th Voicing! Why limit yourself to googling for a chord-melody arrangement for this song or that song when you can create your own for any song?


October 4, 2021: Chord Melodies: Preview!: Have you ever wondered how guitar players can play chords and melodies at the same time!? Take these 11 lessons and you’ll have the stuff to create your own chord-melody arrangements!


September 27, 2021: Chord Melodies: A Better Idea: Why not invest a little time and effort learning the theory behind creating chord-melody arrangements? Then you can CREATE your own arrangements!


September 20, 2021: Jam Tales: José Hendrix: Sometime in the Spring of 2011, a singer from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) sat in at the Saturday Afternoon Jam at BBs. His stage name was José Hendrix. He lives in Kinshasa, the capital city of the DRC with a population of 15 million. He was good, real good.


September 15, 2021: Going Modal - Context!: September Newsletter: FREE lesson contextualizing the modes of the Major Scale, blog links & more!


September 6, 2021: The Tritone Substitution (3): In this lesson I’m going to talk about what to play as a guitarist relative to Tritone Subs when there’s a bassist in the mix. I’ll use the I-VI-II-V Turnaround to illustrate.


August 30, 2021: The Tritone Substitution (2): The Tritone Substitution concept can be applied to any chord progression that moves cyclically, that is, a cycle of 4ths.


August 23, 2021: The TriTone Substitution: Free lesson: The more you alter a Dominant chord, the more like its Tritone it becomes.


August 16, 2021: Republished: What's Wrong With My Hand? Disordered Placement: A split second of time can make all the difference.


August 11, 2021: Going Modal! MixolydianAugust Newsletter: FREE lesson on the Mixolydian Mode, blog links & more!


August 9, 2021: Republished: What's Wrong With My Hand? Vise Grip: Relax!!!


August 2, 2021: Republished: What's Wrong With My Hand? Knock-Kneed Knuckles.


July 26, 2021: Republished: What's Wrong With My Hand? Angular Dysfunction. This one addresses the tendency of the fretting hand knuckles to be held at an angle relative to the fretboard rather than parallel to it. When this angular dysfunction is in play the pinky, which is the shortest finger, has to reach the farthest - that's backwards.


July 19, 2021: Republished: What's Wrong With My Hand? Listin' to Port! This one addresses the tendency of the fretting hand to drift towards the headstock, thus fingering the backside of the fret which raises the likelihood of muted notes &/or fret-buzz.


July 15, 2021: Going Modal! Lydian: July Newsletter to Site Members: FREE lesson on the Lydian Mode, Blog links and more!


July 12, 2021: Republished: What's Wrong With My Hand? Random Pinky! This is the 2nd vlog in a series on common technique issues. This one has to do with controlling the movement of every finger of the fretting hand, all the time, so that your fingers are never more than a fraction of an inch from the strings. Less movement = speed, accuracy and stamina.


July 5, 2021: Republished: What's Wrong With My Hand? Flying Fingers!


June 28, 2021: Teaching Teachers: Just because you’re a good player doesn’t mean you’re a good teacher; those are two different skill sets.


June 20, 2021: Django! "It doesn't matter what limitations you have, we'll find a work-around. Who knows? Maybe we'll discover a whole new way to play something! After all, DJANGO!"


June 14, 2021: The Mixolydian Distinctive: The basic concept of this "Modal Distinctives" series is that you can get to the distinctive sound of a mode without learning the whole mode, but by adding, or altering, a single note of the most commonly-known scale among guitarists; the Minor Pentatonic. So how can you get a Mixolydian sound from a Minor Pentatonic? Easy. Just sharp the 3rd.


June 9, 2021: June 2021: Going Modal - Locrian! FREE lesson on the Locrian Mode, blog links and more!


May 31, 2021: Blog: Jam Tales: Khurram Waqar: How a Pakistani Rock guitarist and a Kansas City Jazz musician hooked up and what came of it.


May 24, 2021: Blog: The Ionian/Lydian Distinction: The concept of this "Modal Distinctives" series is that you can get to the distinctive sound of a mode without learning the whole mode, or getting all confused by modal theory, but by adding, or altering, a single note of the most commonly-known scale among guitarists; the Minor Pentatonic.


May 17, 2021: Blog: House Gigs: Familiarity-Creep: A huge percentage of the time, getting a house gig is the beginning of the end for the band. It's a very seductive thing; steady work, regular paycheck, there's usually a "scene" happening and you are right at the center of it. But inevitably, "familiarity-creep" happens and it usually doesn't end well. If you're lucky, it was a good run and was worth the flame-out at the end.


May 12, 2021: May Newsletter: Free lesson on the Phrygian Mode, Blog Links and MORE!


May 3, 2021: Blog: The Locrian Distinctive: “... I need to discuss the reasons why this sound is so specialized and the resulting confusion among beginning and intermediate players concerning its use.”


April 26, 2021: Blog: Jam Tales: Karmic Buildup: “... it wouldn't look good for the charity Mama Ray was raising money for to have one of her performers arrested onstage!”


April 19, 2021: Blog: 1972 Alvarez-Yairi: This story is actually about 2 guitars. My '72 Alvarez-Yairi was preceded by a Martin N-20 nylon string classical guitar that I bought new in 1975.


April 14, 2021: April Newsletter: Going Modal! Lesson 3: Dorian, Blog Links and more!


April 5, 2021: Blog: The Phrygian Distinctive: Backdoor into the Phrygian sound from the Minor Pentatonic scale. It’s easy! Just add a single note...

March 29, 2021: Blog: Loft Jazz: Not for Everybody: This was community music. Part of the point was that, free of the strictures of clubs, the music could be anything, go anywhere, go on for as long as it wanted.

March 22, 2021: Blog: The Value of the Avant-Garde: ... avant-garde music reveals and causes you to question your unconscious presuppositions about what it is that constitutes music. It's provocative and challenging, sometimes offensive. If you have to ask, “Is that music or noise?” - then it's performing its basic function.

March 15, 2021: Blog: Legato/Staccato: Have you ever listened to a guitarist play and marveled at how “smooth” or fluid his solos sounded? Are you struggling to achieve that in your own playing? I can help you with that.


March 10, 2021: March Newsletter: Going Modal: Lesson 2. Trust me, I can get you to a functional, guitar-friendly understanding of modes - if you follow me, step-by-step and TRUST THE PROCESS! - March Newsletter: free lesson, new product announcement, blog links and more!


March 1, 2021: Blog: Jam Tales: Haji Ahkba: Haji Ahkba is a trumpet/flugelhorn player who has done extensive work as a sideman with James Brown (where he’s credited as George Dickerson) as well as Van Morrison. Along with Van Morrison he was on the cover of Morrison’s 1997 Album, “The Healing Game.” He’s gigged with Little Milton, Bobby Blue Bland, BB King, Eddie Harris, Pony Poindexter, Stanley Turrentine, Barry Harris, Sun-Ra, Lou Donaldson, Archie Shepp and many more. Sometime in the spring of 2004 Haji showed up at the Saturday Afternoon Jam at Harlings. At the time, I didn't know who he was. I found out soon enough!

February 22, 2021: Blog: A Rare 9th Voicing: This 9th voicing, especially from a 6th-string root, is known and used among more advanced players but rarely known by most guitarists.

February 15, 2021: Blog: You're Not Doing Social Media Right! This blog is not a Guitar Lesson, Theory Lesson, Technique Tip or a Jam Tale. It's more of a rant and about being transparent concerning my business model and practices.


February 9, 2021: February Newsletter: Confused by modes? New FREE lesson series to Site Members! Plus blog links, new product announcements and more!


February 1, 2021: Blog: Quick & Dirty Altered Dominants: A quick guide to altering 5ths and 9ths of Dominant 7 Chords.


January 25,2021: Blog: The Aeolian/Dorian Distinction: Back-door into modes from the Minor Pentatonic Scale. No confusing modal theory necessary. What do you want to sound like? What do you want to feel? What color is it?


January 18, 2021: Jam Tales: The Incredible Flying Mic. This story is about singer Jim LaForte. He had one of the most authentic R&B voices of anyone I've heard. A whole book could be written about him; he was one of those characters who was surrounded by chaos and drama, most of it his own doing.


January 13, 2021: January Newsletter: FREE lesson on the Minor Blues, blog links and more!

January 4, 2021: Blog: Quick & Dirty 9th Chords: In this installment of “Quick & Dirty” we’re going to deal with 3 types of 9th chords. A 9th can be added to anything but most commonly it’s added to Major 7 (Cmaj9), Dominant 7 (C9) and Minor 7 (C-9) chords.

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